Phil Haigh ✍️
Luca Brecel is very much on board with calls to modernise snooker, believing dress codes, length of matches and the choice of television pundits need to be updated.
At 27 years old, Brecel is one of the youngest players competing at the top end of the game and would like to see snooker fulfil its potential by appealing to more fans of his age and younger.
Judd Trump famously called for a string of updates to the game last year, mentioning the likes of dress code and TV coverage and the Belgian Bullet can see exactly where he is coming from.
This year’s Scottish Open champion wants to see a fresh look to snooker coverage, criticising the use of veteran pundits at the biggest events.
‘I agree 100 per cent,’ Brecel told Metro.co.uk. ‘I think there’s a lot of potential in this game, but the problem is we keep seeing people like John Parrott and Steve Davis.
‘I know they’re great players and legends, but you need to get younger people in. There’s so many great characters in the game but no one sees it because they never come on TV.
‘Only in the games but you don’t talk in the games so no one knows how many great characters there are. I think it definitely needs to change.’
Asked whether he would take the opportunity to take on TV work himself, Luca said: ‘I’d love to.’
Another point Trump has made is that he knows few people of his own age, 32, that are into snooker and Brecel agrees, believing the game finds it difficult in the battle for attention with other sports.
‘All the other sports are a bit more attractive for younger people,’ he said. ‘They’re quicker, more entertaining, louder, all of that.
‘I think people don’t really understand how great this game is, it just needs to change a little bit and it would be more attractive for younger people.’
The Belgian reckons a more modern dress code and shorter matches are the answers in order to attract the attention of a younger audience, admitting that he even finds lengthier games tough to watch.
When asked for the changes he would make first, Brecel said: ‘Dress code, definitely.
‘Maybe shorter games. It’s just too long, even a best of seven sounds short and it is short for players, but if you’re watching it’s still a couple of hours. If you watch darts they play a best of 11 in maybe 20 minutes, half an hour. Snooker is too long, especially the best of 11s, best of 19s. Even I can’t watch it.
‘I always watch the first round games in the World Championship, if I’m not playing, but as the tournament goes on the less I watch, because it’s just too long. If you’re watching the first session of the final, no one cares if it’s 6-2 or 4-4 because the match is not played, it doesn’t matter. It’s way too long.
‘Playing the long games is amazing, playing best of 95 would be amazing, but the watching could be more attractive, I think. But it’s not up to me.’
Dress code is a sticky issue in the game, because many others have called for a change, but there never seems to be a brilliant alternative on offer to the traditional smart attire.
‘It’s very hard,’ said Luca. ‘Maybe a bit more like pool or darts, but not too much.
‘I like how snooker looks, but wearing it for the players is a bit difficult sometimes, with the bow tie, it’s all very stiff. It would be nice if it could change, but I’m not sure to what.’
Brecel is a big fan of darts, and although the atmosphere at the arrows would never work for a snooker audience, he would not mind hearing a bit more noise, similar to the rowdy crowd at the Masters.
‘They can be as loud as they want, just don’t be rude. That’s it,’ he said. ‘They can shout and scream like they do at the Masters, that’s great for the game and for young people.’
Brecel will not be focusing on waistcoats, match formats and punditry this week, but on ending his run of defeats in the first round at the Crucible.
The Bullet has played at the great Sheffield venue four times and lost on each occasion, so he is looking to break that hoodoo against Noppon Saengkham starting on Wednesday night.
Brecel insists he does not feel nerves in Sheffield, in fact he doesn’t in any situation, and expects to pick up his first Crucible win this week.
‘No nerves, I never feel nerves,’ he said. ‘Maybe at 9-9 or something , but not in the beginning of the game.
‘I lost 10-9 twice [at the Crucible], probably should have won those games. Lost to [Stephen] Maguire when I was 17, everyone expected that, and lost to Ricky Walden when I had an off day and he had a great day. I think it’ll change this year.’
On being insusceptible to pressure, Brecel simply can’t understand why a snooker player should be under attack from nerves.
‘I don’t see a reason why I should,’ he said. ‘Some people get so over enthusiastic about things, for me everything is quite normal. Unless it’s a final, 17-each on the black, I’m going to feel nerves, but apart from that, no chance.
‘When I was really young starting the game I was always quite nervous, but now there’s so many tournaments and it’s such a nice life, so why should you feel nervous to just play a game?
‘Everyone complains, I try to never complain. Even when I’m just in the hotel or something, I enjoy myself. It’s so much better than working all day.’
Brecel will be working hard to reach the last 16 at the Crucible for the first time when he takes on Noppon on Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon.
For more stories like this, check our sport page.
This post appeared first on Snooker – Metro.